10 May 2007

Alberta's cowboy caucus: Rent problem? What rent problem?

Despite a government task force report advocating controls on Alberta's overheated rental market, Premier Ed Stelmach is digging in his heels. "Rent controls will only make the situation worse," the premier insists, without explanation.

Meanwhile, renters in Calgary suffer from increases up to 200 per cent. Fred Bisschop, who suffers from
a heart and lung condition, lives on $1,212 per month in government assistance. He will see his rent increase by 50 per cent to $1,110. "This is going to wipe me out," he said.

The position of Stelmach's government is not surprising. Even though Calgary and Edmonton make up over half the population of Alberta, his cabinet is dominated by rural MLAs. But it is in Calgary and Edmonton, particularly in Calgary, where the rental crisis is most severe, and rural MLAs are not known for their sympathies for the problems of big cities. At least one urban Tory
, Calgary-Nose Hill MLA Neil Brown, has openly broken ranks and voiced support for controls.

Stelmach's government is essentially a rural government, but the big problems of the current rampant economic growth are suffered predominantly in the cities. If this government can barely understand the challenges facing Alberta, how can it be expected to deal with them?

1 comment:

  1. It isn't just the metro areas being affected. The Bow Valley, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie and of course Fort Mac are all severely affected.

    In areas such as the Bow Valley, not only is the rental market so tight that people are living in cars, but additional pressure from foreign (Read American) buyers are forcing the prices of a single family home well beyond the $1 million dollar mark. As a result, those who actually live in the area are being economically evicted because their otherwise average salaries cannot remotely keep the pace.

    Hot on the heels of this situation are the landlords who take advantage and then cry "inflation". Inflation is at best 5%, so why the 50 and 100% increases?

    This province is a disaster.